High Court accepts appeal case in Ali Waheed's passport

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed arrives at Criminal Court on January 24, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

The High Court of Maldives has accepted the appeal case over the release of the passport of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who is charged with attempted rape, sexual abuse, and harassment towards employees during his time in office. 

Ali Waheed's passport was released by the Criminal Court on February 9 and he departed to the UK a few hours later. The PG Office has alleged that he departed to the United Kingdom before the court order was officially issued on February 10. His passport was released after medical officials testified in court that he required spinal surgery.

The case, when appealed by the PG to the High Court, had initially been rejected by the Registrar of the court due to the expiry of the legally allowed time period for such appeals. The decision of the registrar was appealed by the PG, leading to the Judge's bench of the High Court yesterday to allow the case to be accepted and heard. 

The case was immediately appealed to the High Court. High Court’s regulations state decisions by the court’s registrar can be appealed with the High Court’s Council of Judges, while decisions by the High Court’s Council of Judges can be appealed with the Supreme Court.

The Criminal Court released Ali Waheed’s passport for the period of four months after orthopedic Dr. Yoosuf Shan testified that he needs to undergo a backbone surgery. Ali Waheed’s aide, State Minister for Sports Assad Ali (Adubarey) signed as his bail guarantor.

Ali Waheed was dismissed as Tourism Minister on July 9, 2020, after allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry were brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He was initially asked to voluntarily resign but was dismissed after he refused.

He has been pressed with seven charges; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.

He pled not guilty to all seven charges during his arraignment at the Criminal Court on January 24.